Tuesday Heart bits and Songs

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Matthew 5:11,12

It’s been a while since we did some news bits here.  One of the things I’ve always wanted to have at the Heart Beat is content that most sites don’t focus on.  Whether it’s focusing on the good things our Cops do, interesting history, movies, and faith based articles that some of you folks send in or highlighting important events that the lame stream media refuses to talk about.

For the past number of years the main media has ignored the increasing incidents of Christian persecution going on around the world.  Open Doors is one of the main organizations which publishes a yearly watch list of Christian persecution, and I’ve been keeping track of their findings and also that from Voice of the Martyrs for years.

It’s no surprise that once again, North Korea takes the #1 spot of the worst country to be a Christian, as it’s held that spot for the past 15 years, where 50,000 people are suffering in prison or labor camps for their faith.

What is somewhat surprising even while keeping up with the increase of persecution is that worldwide, 1 out of 12 Christians lives “in an area, or in a culture, in which Christianity is illegal, forbidden, or punished.”

Not surprising, even with North Korea holding the top spot, is the fact that Islam is the one of the most oppressive and dangerous sources of persecution towards Christians. The rise of Sharia in many areas of Western European countries, is also expanding expanding in Asia (Philippines, Bangladesh,Indonesia) and Africa (Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia).

Unfortunately for all the years of our Troops being deployed to Afghanistan, all the training and help the US has provided- that country now takes the #2 spot for persecution, and is almost tied for first with North Korea. Afghanistan now meets the same level of persecution as North Korea in five out of six areas. This is unprecedented.

Pakistan, which has been aiding Afghanistan’s militant Muslims scored the highest in “churches or church building attacks, abductions, and forced marriages.”

A new country added to the list as well with Azerbaijan coming in at #45- as Central Asian countries are seeing a revival of Islam.
You can read the full Open Doors PDF report here

Please keep all our brothers and sisters in Christ in prayers for protection, not only from governments and officials but also from non believing family, neighbors and acquaintances.  Pray too for many more minorities who are persecuted as well, that they may come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Pray for courage and boldness to stand strong in Christ and to continue to be a testimony and witness to those who persecute them, that they would come to Jesus too.

While I always like to include a song or two in most of our articles because we like music, and sometimes music puts into words what we can’t… music here on this article is important to many Christians in areas where they are persecuted. The music is often passed down through generations where illiteracy rates are high and/or scriptures and literature is banned or hard to come by. Singing is a way they can connect with other Christians, and also reflects joy and sorrow in worship.  So feel free to post songs today in remembering Christian brothers and sisters around the world.